The Odyssey Project

Students enrolled in The Odyssey Project will take courses in literature, philosophy, U.S. history, art history, and critical thinking and writing from September through May. Upon successful completion of the program, students will earn six units of college credit in the Humanities from Bard College (all credits earned are fully transferrable). The Odyssey Project also offers a second-year course, offered in both English and Spanish, for students who are interested in continuing their education in the humanities while earning additional college credits.

Courses are offered in the Chicago neighborhoods of Woodlawn, Rogers Park, and Pilsen (taught in Spanish) and in Urbana-Champaign.

The Odyssey Project is offered in conjunction with the Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities, The University of Chicago’s Civic Knowledge Project, and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign’s Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities.

Eligibility and Guidelines

To qualify for The Odyssey Project:

  • You must be 17 years of age or older.

  • Read at an adult level. We do a lot of reading in the program, so being able to read a newspaper in English (or in Spanish for the Spanish Course) is a good measure of reading readiness for this course.

  • Live at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guideline.

  • You CAN join The Odyssey Project if you have outstanding student loans and student loans in default or owe money to a college. We do not use Federal Financial Aid Forms.

  • We consider special circumstances if you do not qualify based on the above criteria, so please contact us and/or add a note to your application.

  • Submit a complete application (available in Summer 2016 for 2016/17 Courses).

Frequently Asked Questions

The First Year Course

The first-year course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the humanities through the study of philosophy, art history, literature, U.S. history, and critical thinking and writing. In addition to work in the classroom, students will also have the opportunity to see plays, visit museums, and attend public lectures.

Classes meet twice a week in the evenings from September to May, and are offered in Chicago’s Rogers Park and Woodlawn neighborhoods, and in Champaign/Urbana. A Spanish version of the first year course is also offered in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Upon successfully completing the first year course, students earn six units of college credits in the Humanities from Bard College.

The Second Year Course

The second-year course is open to those who have successfully completed the first-year course and wish to continue their study of the humanities. We offer the second-year course in both English and Spanish. In the English section, students take two courses that each meet once a week from September through December. In the Spanish section, students take two courses over two semesters and meet once a week from September through April. Upon successful completion of the second year course, students earn an additional eight units of college credit in the Humanities from Bard College. Classes are held in downtown Chicago at the Illinois Humanities’ office (17 N. State Street, Suite 1400).


El Proyecto Odisea (Spanish Language Course)

El Proyecto Odisea es un curso al nivel universitario para hispanohablantes, que consiste en cinco clases: Literatura, Filosofía, Historia, Redacción e Historia del arte. Las lecturas, trabajos escritos, y discusión en clase son en Español. Las clases se reúnen de septiembre a mayo, dos veces por semana, en el la Iglesia de San Pío V/St. Pius V Parish (1919 S Ashland Ave). El Illinois Humanities ofrece este curso en colaboración con la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).

También ofrecemos un curso de segundo año enseñado en Español, abierto a los estudiantes que han terminado con el curso de primer año y que quieren profundizar sus estudios de las humanidades. Los estudiantes tomarán dos cursos durante dos semestres y se reunirán una vez por semana desde Septiembre hasta Abril. A partir de terminar exitosamente, los estudiantes ganarán otro 8 créditos universitarios. Los clases se impartan en Chicago en las oficinas de Illinois Humanities en el Loop.

Odyssey Project Faculty and Staff